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Established in 1979 as a research collaboration between Mahidol University (Thailand), Oxford University (UK) and the UK's Wellcome Trust, the Mahidol Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit (MORU) conducts targeted clinical trials and public health research that aim to discover and develop appropriate, affordable interventions that measurably improve the health of people living in resource-limited parts of the world.

The Mahidol Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit's main office and laboratories are located within the Faculty of Tropical Medicine at Mahidol University in Bangkok, Thailand, with MORU Units, study sites and collaborations across Thailand, Asia and Africa.

The core of MORU’s activities remains patient-centred clinical research, and the laboratory, mathematical and economic modelling work, and academic and logistical activities needed to support this.

Our geographically dispersed but integrated network afford us the ability to answer important public health questions in the resource-limited settings in which we work:

  • What are the best ways to improve the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of the prevalent infectious and nutritional diseases?
  • How can the survival of critically ill patients in these settings be improved?

Antimicrobial drug resistance in pathogenic bacteria and malaria parasites has reached crisis point in Southeast Asia. MORU works to determine:

  • How can we best treat patients infected with resistant pathogens?
  • What is the best way to reduce antibiotic usage and thus the selective pressure on bacteria?
  • What are the most ethical and effective tools and strategies to use in malaria elimination campaigns?
  • What are the most prevalent acute febrile illnesses, their causes and most effective treatments?
  • How can we improve medicine quality?

MORU’s work has led to strong and lasting collaborations with governments, international health agencies, hospitals, academic colleagues and communities across the globe, and supported the education and professional development of local health staff and medical researchers.

An Affiliated Research Centre (ARC) for the UK’s Open University, MORU hosts post-graduate and post-doctoral students from the University of Oxford (UK), Mahidol University (Thailand) and several other universities from across the globe.

MORU is generously supported with significant funding from the Wellcome Trust, our major funding partner. We also receive funding from other trusts and foundations, governments, and multi-lateral donors.

MORU Researchers

MORU Research Highlights

Optimal duration of follow-up antimalarial efficacy in pregnancy on the Thailand–Myanmar border

Posted 02/07/2019. Highly efficacious treatment can limit the cumulative deleterious impact of malaria during pregnancy on the mother and fetus. Correct assessment of treatment efficacy with an adequate length of follow up is required. Makoto Saito and colleagues at the Shoklo Malaria Research Unit (SMRU) on the Thailand-Myanmar border suggest that pregnant women need to be followed up longer than the currently recommended duration of follow-up to assess antimalarial drug efficacy.

‘Antibiotic footprint’ as a communication tool to aid reduction of antibiotic consumption

Posted 18/06/2019. How should we communicate to the public the magnitude of antibiotic use in humans and animals? Led by Direk Limmathurotsakul, our scientists and global partners propose the concept of ‘antibiotic footprint’. It could support individual, national and global actions against superbugs as 'carbon footprint' has done for climate change

Novel approaches to control malaria in forested areas of Southeast Asia

Posted 11/06/2019. Remaining foci of malaria transmission are often in forests, where vectors tend to bite during daytime and outdoors thus reducing the effectiveness of insecticide treated bednets. Limited periods of exposure suggest that chemoprophylaxis could be a promising strategy to protect forest workers against malaria. Lorenz Von Seidlein and colleagues discuss which antimalarial drug regimens are most appropriate, how frequently the chemoprophylaxis should be delivered, and how to motivate forest workers to use and adhere to malaria prophylaxis.

Malaria morbidity and mortality following introduction of a universal policy of artemisinin-based treatment for malaria in Papua, Indonesia

Posted 04/06/2019. In Papua, where multidrug resistant P. falciparum and P. vivax are coendemic, the introduction of a universal policy of ACT plus IV artesunate for all patients with malaria halved hospital admissions and malarial deaths. However the reduction in P. vivax was far less than that for P. falciparum. This study by Ric Price and colleagues emphasizes the need for better drug regimens to clear the liver stages of P. vivax.